Dr. Peffley                                                Political Behavior


Lecture Outline:

Aggression, Political Violence, Anger and Protest


I.          Introduction:

A.       Why are political aggression, violence and anger important to study?

B.        Aggressive behavior defined.

C.       Examples in U.S. history


II.        Psychological perspectives on (Internal and) External determinants of aggressive behavior

A.       How does group membership affect aggressive behavior?

1.         What is a group?

2.         Arousal

3.         Diffusion of responsibility

4.         1 and 2 contribute to loss of individuality and moral restraints: “deindividuation”

5.         Examples of groups contributing to aggressive behavior

6.         Zimbardo Prison Simulation: deindividuation, role-playing and aggressive behavior

B.        Aggression as Obedience to Authority:  Milgram experiment and variations. 

1.         Explanations of the holocaust

2.         Which experimental conditions promote obedience? Which do not?

a)         Emotional distance of the “victim”

b)        Closeness and legitimacy of authority

c)         Institutional authority

d)        Group influence

e)         Historical examples: Eichman, Mai Lai massacre

3.         Questions:

a)         Could it happen today?

b)        Realism of laboratory experiments?

c)         Advantages of experiments versus survey methods

d)        Ethical questions; deception in experiments

C.       Violence in the U.S. South: “The Culture of Honor”

1.         Documenting violence in the South

2.         Alternative explanations

3.         Herding economies and the culture of honor

4.         Regional differences in behavioral responses to insults